Primitive Projections of Narcissists Inflict Pain and Harm

I am frequently reminded that narcissists are projecting their psychological venom on to others all the time. This kind of behavior cannot be overstated. Deep down in the unconscious, the narcissist is filled with self loathing and an intolerable emptiness.

Churning with self hatred, he or she ejects it out on to others, especially those close to him–spouses, children, siblings, co-workers, acquaintances. A projection is a defense mechanism, an unconscious process that the narcissist  uses to instantaneously get rid of aggressive, intolerable and threatening feelings and impulses on to another person.

This incoming fire can be completely unexpected and that is a vital part of why the power punch can lay you flat. There are times when you know that the narcissist is in a particular mood and know to steer clear. Or you have intuitive messages to keep your distance. But are other times, when there is no warning and these are the toughest to take.

Not long ago I was the recipient of a psychological punch (a primitive projection) to the gut from an acquaintance. The sky was blue and clear in my world with this person  at the time. We were conversing and I felt that it was going well. Someone else was wanting his attention. I made mental notes of this a couple of times but waved it off. That was my oversight. Suddenly—incoming fire hell missiles. He delivered verbal mortal blows designed to knock me out and put me away. I was shocked and at first had to review his primitive message which translated was: “I hate you. Get the hell out of my life now! ” His seething rage and annihilating intent shot into me so fast that I spun inside. I made a quick appraisal and decided that making any kind of retort was useless. For my welfare I left the scene. I think this was a good self care move as I look back. This guy would never understand my point of view. He had a perspective ally beside him. The best action was immediately gaining Distance Away from the Toxicity. I was still reeling. I got into my car and felt like hell but began to think  about what had just happened and what it meant.

This event and there have been many by others, gives me the opportunity to acknowledge again the horror that you go through with narcissistic spouses, what you have experienced and still do with narcissistic mothers, fathers and siblings.

Learn all that you can about the true nature of the narcissistic personality–the character disorder of our time.

Take good care of yourself. When you are ensnared by one of these horrid projections, give yourself credit for identifying what it is–it is not coming from you–do not blame yourself–this is the putrid message coming from the unconscious of a narcissistic personality. Celebrate your victories. Keep your psychological, emotional and physical distance from these individuals when and if you possibly can. Maintain good boundaries from this venom machine.

Spend time with people who are more self aware, are not as subject to projections and who admit when they have done this and take them back. Recognize that you are growing, a wonderful living work in progress. Pay close attention to your intuition. Seek your dreams and know that you can fulfill them.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissists–Their Bottomless Well of Emptiness

“In narcissistic personalities the experience of emptiness is most intense and almost constant…” (Otto Kernberg, Md. clinical expert on the narcissistic personality).  “The narcissist’s experience of emotional emptiness is beyond sadness.  It is a severe and intractable wounding, a pain…savage and deep. The psychological (inner) landscape of the narcissist is bleak.” (From: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life). This is the narcissist’s unconscious experience of himself. (I use the male pronoun “he” in this post to represent male and female narcissists).   As a result the narcissist is a very restless human being, always surveying his external environment for narcissistic supplies: adulation, praise, self indulgence, the company of highly attractive men and women, sexual escapes, the pursuit of material possessions, seeking raw power to control others, manipulation of those whom they experience as competitors.

“The successful narcissist creates an intricate system of positive feedback in the form of friends, associates, partners, spouses—who perpetually fulfill his endless needs.” (From Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life) The narcissist is incapable of having a real relationship with another person. He doesn’t have a relationship with himself. Everything in his life is externalized and the most prized possession of all is the elaborate golden image that he creates and perpetuates all of his life.

Beneath the surface, in the unconscious, molten rage is bubbling. This fury is projected on to others, especially spouses, children, siblings, business associates, etc. The narcissist cannot perceive that this rage is completely inappropriate and harmful to others. He simply spits it out or vomits it forth in a projectile that is highly disturbing and hurtful to its recipients. This is the narcissist’s extreme self loathing in action. The narcissist cannot own any of these unconscious feelings and therefore they are ejected out on to his victims.

When you learn about the dynamics of the narcissistic personality, you have gained knowledge and power. Now you understand what makes them tick, why they react with such venom and why they are constantly searching for narcissistic supplies to fill up the bottomless pit of their psychological emptiness. Learn to detach from the narcissist. Keep your physical distance (if possible since they are very unpleasant to say the least) and maintain your psychological boundaries. You are entitled to respect. You are a separate human being who has intrinsic value, integrity  and dignity.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Hollow Men Trample Our Feelings

T.S. Eliot, the great prescient poet wrote in “The Hollow Men”: We are the hollow men, We are the stuffed men, leaning together…Our dried voices, when we whisper together are…meaningless…”

Eliot intuited the ascendance of the narcissistic personality in our society. That time is now and has been coming, growing to epidemic proportions.

I am in communication with many individuals who are suffering from the rampaging of narcissistic personalities in their lives: daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers and narcissistic fathers, narcissistic siblings, those married to narcissistic spouses. Their pain is deep and continuous as long as they are in contact with and part of the narcissist’s life. They are living too close to an individual who is empty and “hollow” inside and who lives in a way that has no meaning, warmth, empathy or truth.

Narcissists trample on our feelings. They make every effort to destroy what is deep inside of us and gives us meaning. They have overwhelming personalities that are forceful, manipulative and cruel. They constantly lie and exploit those closest to them.

Being the child of a narcissistic mother or father is one of the most painful fates. The narcissistic mother hates genuine feelings, even in her infant. When the child cries she ignores her/him, makes the little one feel ashamed, screams and threatens the child if he does not “shut up.”

Those married to narcissists are continuously gaslighted–told that they are crazy, especially if they express deep feelings of sadness, fear, joy, anger, etc. No feelings are allowed in this household–except for the narcissist who bubbles with constant fire hot rage. Day after day–rage after rage—the spouse takes this abuse and feels herself getting weaker. She tells herself that she needs to be more understanding, that she is the one at fault, that there is something intrinsically the matter with her. NO! That is not the case if you are married to a narcissistic personality. Yes, you are imperfect. You are the frequent recipient of the narcissist’s insidious projections that wound deeply and leave scars.

Your narcissistic sibling is the king or queen of the family–the special one chosen. There are no rules for this child from the beginning. You are treated by your parent(s) with strictness. You are often criticized and demeaned but the chosen, budding narcissist can treat you like dirt and the parent will not defend you.

God help you if you cry–that is a serious sin in this kind of family. Often the mother or father in this constellation is a narcissist. You become the scapegoat, the one everyone targets for cruel comments especially when you show feelings.

Expressing feelings –all of them is part of being an authentic human being. I don’t trust anyone who is incapable of expressing feeling–genuine ones. I know that many are taught very early that showing feelings is a sign of weakness. The opposite is true. Being comfortable with our feelings is essential to evolving and growing as an individual. This doesn’t mean we make out of control public displays. We learn to have good manners and to be considerate of others.

Remember that the narcissist is a Hollow Man, a dry, empty, personless being who can neither give nor receive love, compassion or empathy. This personality disorder is fixed and does not change. Hollow men are made of stone. I always look and feel into the eyes of others. I know them by the expression in their eyes and the energy that I feel from them. When we look deeply into the eyes of a narcissist we experience what Eliot saw in The Hollow Men: “The eyes are not here, There are no eyes here in this valley of dying stars….”

Feel your authenticity, celebrate the real self within you that continues to evolve, learn, create and, always, Feel.

Narcissistic Mothers Get Away with Their Secret Cruelties

Narcissistic mothers have always existed. Their styles fit certain eras. These days many narcissistic mothers are in highly competitive careers. I think that the rise of women to become prominent in many professions is exceedingly vital to every individual in the society. I am not talking about working women who become mothers, love their children and are very responsible raising them. I am speaking about the narcissistic mother who has her children specifically for the sake of her all important image which includes bragging rights and calculated displays of her perfect kids. Some narcissistic mothers insist on molding each child. She is like a puppet master, working the strings of her daughters and sons. She checks each one to see which she will choose to reflect and mirror her the best. The chosen child is often attractive, bright, talented in some way and athletic. This child is a standout in the family from the mother’s perspective. She knows this child’s destiny from the beginning. She showers this chosen one with undeserved praise and this son or daughter is given no limitations with regard to cruel behaviors toward brothers and sisters.

I have heard so many appalling life stories of children who grew up with a narcissistic mother and weren’t chosen to be the star of the family. These mothers are such hypocrites. In public they know exactly how to present themselves in the mothering role. That’s exactly what it is–a performance. Relatives, friends, even close ones believe that these mothers are extraordinary and that they genuinely love and care for their children.

The opposite is true. Narcissistic mothers are exceedingly critical, at times physically violent and psychologically horrifying with their children. Adult children of narcissistic mothers tell stories of terrifying punishments that they received even as very small children. Often they were subjected to hours of threats, told that they should never have been born but should have been aborted. Kids were forced to clean their rooms until they were spotless. Even when the chores were perfectly done, mother didn’t approve and picked the child apart, calling them names like “stupid”, “ugly”, “worthless”, “dumb”.  These names coming from a narcissistic mother were deeply embedded into the children who received this abusive treatment. As adults, children of narcissistic mothers still can hear “mother’s” hateful raised voice shouting epithets at them.

Narcissistic mothers terrify their children by pitting one against the other, promising one daughter or son that he or she will be the favorite. All of this is a cruel game the narcissistic mother sadistically employs to control her children, to make them bend completely to her iron will.

These dark hidden punishments and chronic patterns of neglect are kept secret within the family. No one must ever say or even admit to himself or herself the truth about “mother.” That is the seal of secrecy that feels like a matter or life or death. These children feel so trapped. They know no one will believe them–not even other relatives or family friends. That is the essence of the narcissistic mother’s dark psychological and emotional treachery.

Some children of narcissistic mothers not only survive to tell  the true tale of their lives but they heal and evolve and create. I have found that these adult children are among some of the most empathic human beings I have ever encountered.

Let your healing begin. It is a long pathway. Begin by knowing and accepting the truth about what happened to you. Next–Take hold of the truth about yourself and what a wonderful, unique human being you are. Remember your special gifts and if you don’t, ask that they will be revealed to you. Be receptive to your intuition as you move toward healing and wholeness. I am in your corner always. I have great faith in you. Honor your true self and you will grow with unbounded abundance and deep inner peace.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Doctors Don’t Care About Your Health

There are excellent, dedicated physicians who work hard to keep their patients well. They are your partner in health. When a patient becomes ill, fine physicians go the distance to help you get well. I am not talking about most of our doctors in this article.

I am addressing narcissistic doctors who purposely go into specialties where they can gain the most prestige and make the most money. I hear from my readers about some of these individuals and the stories are disturbing. Some doctors over test patients and run up the bill on purpose. There are unnecessary medical procedures performed by narcissistic physicians that cost tremendous amounts of money and don’t result in helping the patient to heal. Most people are still afraid to question a physician. They see him or her as the ultimate authority. My experience and that of others is that a fine doctor welcomes intelligent questions on the part of the patient. Becoming healthy again and staying healthy is a collaborative experience between doctor and patient. It is essential that the individual stays informed about his/her health matters.

Narcissistic doctors are going through the motions. They are completely self absorbed like all narcissists. Many of them are very smooth, highly confident, attractive and know how to win over their patients and maintain their trust. Some patients view doctors like mini gods. We can be grateful and very impressed by the skill and knowledge and training of a physician. The good and great ones deserve our respect and confidence in them.

Know what to watch for in narcissistic doctors:

Do you sense that the doctor has a money motive?

Is the physician disrespectful (putting you down, criticizing you) as a patient?

Is the physician forceful and do you get a sense that he/she is insisting on procedures that will not be helpful and could be harmful to you?

Does the physician invade your personal boundaries with intimate questions and sexual  innuendos?

Does the doctor become highly defensive, angry even enraged when you ask him/her questions?

Does the physician talk about himself incessantly and his importance, prestige, life style, etc. instead of focusing on you and your medical issues?

Does the doctor make disparaging, cruel remarks about your appearance?

Does the doctor have an abrasive, rude, sadistic bedside manner. For example, I know of a hospital patient who was unceremoniously awakened in the middle of the night and told: “You have had a stroke” and then had the nerve to ask the patient how he was feeling. The narcissistic doctor’s manner was brusque and cold. It frightened the patient and caused needless fear and distress.

There are excellent physicians who are not narcissists. Do your research and find doctors who are highly trained, professionally excellent, patient oriented and empathic.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Stop Getting Off and On Torture Ride with Narcissistic Spouse

Each time many spouses go back to their narcissistic spouse they know that this person has a chance of changing. They hold out that small candle of hope that this time it will be different because I am going to love him enough. This pattern is repeated, sometimes for decades, over and over again with highly painful, stressful and in some cases catastrophic results. It isn’t your fault that you keep returning to your narcissistic spouse. However, one great option to avoid the plunge this time is to learn everything you can about this personality disorder of our times—the narcissistic personality disorder. You can change yourself and you keep trying but you cannot change them.

Begin your psychological and physical and emotional separation from him (or her) by learning perhaps for the first time, how to take very good care of yourself. Become entitled to the essentials: good sleep, a form of exercise that you either like or can tolerate, listening to music that you love, eating healthy food, doing a form of quieting the body/mind like guided meditation, simple hatha yoga with emphasis on breathing through the nose, tai chi, dance in a form that you enjoy, creativity—painting, sketching, spontaneous writing, photographing, being in Nature–even watching the birds in the park or a small space near you is a lovely interlude. You will think of many more ways to calm yourself, to learn to be alone with yourself and at peace.

As you grow stronger psychologically you will find that you are perceiving your narcissistic spouse more objectively. This person is constantly projecting his/her psychological venom on to you. That is abusive.

Your narcissistic spouse is regressed at the age of about the terrible two’s regardless of worldly success, education or intelligence or talent.

Pay close attention to you intuition as it leads the way to your final liberation from this individual who has caused you so much pain on every level. You will continue to grow and evolve. I have seen this happen so often. I applaud every effort you make. Don’t be judgmental on yourself. You deserve freedom, deep inner peace and the use of all of your many gifts.

Narcissistic Daughter Conquers–Ruling Mom, Dad, Brothers and Sisters

Narcissistic daughters are tyrants–some by the time they are five years old or younger. Most people don’t believe this but it is true. I have seen it numerous times and heard life stories about these tiny tyrants reigning terror on the family. In some instances the mother is a narcissist and, believing that her daughter is super special and perfect, provides her with a no limits environment. She is never told “No” to anything that she does or says. She runs with her impulses. She hits, kicks, screams, intimidates, plays games, accuses, tantrums, etc. whenever she feels the urge–which is often. Dad is controlled by narcissistic mom. He is like another child. The sorry state of brothers and sisters in this household is very painful to behold. When siblings hear the voice of this tiny fiend they run for cover. She lies, connives, plots and plans against them all of the time. She gets what she wants all of the time. She doesn’t get into trouble because there are no real parents to correct her and show her a different way of behaving and thinking. She doesn’t learn what is right and wrong from her parents. She never develops empathy.

As they grow these narcissistic daughters become more demanding, manipulative, scheming, psychologically lethal. Narcissistic mother proudly announces: . “My daughter is a force of Nature.”—an ugly, catastrophic, destructive one. .

These daughters create havoc in the lives of their siblings indefinitely.  Eventually, some family members realize that they can no longer deal with this level of abuse. Some research the attributes of the narcissistic personality and recognize they are reading about their tyrannical narcissistic sister. They now know what happened when they were growing up. They were the scapegoats, the worriers, the anxious ones, the forgotten, the ones who  were tricked into taking the blame for anything that went wrong.  How unjust to say the least.

Knowing this truth, you have the power to disengage completely from your narcissistic sister. This can be complex but realize that this sick sibling is not going to change.

Move forward with your own life. Appreciate your authenticity, your empathy, your creative gifts and your individuality. Give yourself time to heal.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

The Repetition of Trauma with Narcissistic Spouse/Partner

So often those who are married to narcissistic spouses or who have narcissistic partners are repeating an abusive cycle of behavior that they experienced in childhood and beyond. They move from the traumatic home where they were continually in a psychological state of siege to marriage to a narcissistic partner who always has them in a state of apprehension and in some cases–all out terror. Each moment they know that their narcissistic partner might come unglued and go into a violent vituperative rage. They know it will happen–the question is When? The narcissistic spouse is predictably unpredictable. Highly secretive, he/she is very controlling–even to the point of hacking your email, following your footsteps to the mall via your cell phone, watching and listening as you speak with friends. There is nowhere to hid, be safe, find peace or respite.

For some this is a vivid reminder of their childhood with a narcissistic mother and/or father. When we are little, we know instinctively that we must survive. We do our best. We are so vulnerable. We walk the walk we are given and mouth the words that are spoken. For some, childhood is a kind of brainwashing, a prison, a gulag. Some children feel that there will never be a return from this place of desolation and constant fear. Who will rescue them? Who will come, they ask through their tears. Some children are afraid to cry. This can be dangerous after all if you get slapped in the face every time you show an emotion.

One would think logically that if we are raised in this horrendous environment in the world of the narcissistic parent we would never choose a narcissist as a partner. But this is frequently not the case. Unconsciously we are drawn to what is familiar albeit painful. And besides this, narcissists are so clever in the opening moves. They know how to catch our attention, how to magnetize us to them, how to make us fall in love or lust with them against every best judgment we ever had. They have phenomenal antenna and can sense our deepest needs and vulnerabilities–this despite that beneath it all, they don’t give a damn about us.

Once the spouse knows that he/she is being victimized by a narcissist there is a great opportunity to leave this toxic person. But life isn’t that simple or easy. Divorcing a narcissist is complex and ugly, usually. But I have known many who have done this and gone through the fire of this ordeal and come out very much alive, limping at first and then moving steadily faster toward a life that belongs to them. They have broken the pathological cycle of repetition. Life is waiting for them to take the next step—Their Very Own.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Mothers Conceal Severe Abuse of Their Children

Narcissistic mothers fool most people who are living outside the home, even their close relatives and friends. I hear very sad, tragic life stories from daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers recounting in detail the horrors of their childhoods. In some cases the fathers of the abused children were kept in the dark about the full extent of the chronic abuse. Some dads simply turned the child raising over to his wife and became completely caught up in his career. In some cases the father was suspicious but turned a blind eye to the mental and psychological abuse perpetrated by his narcissistic wife. Like Pontius Pilate, he washed his hands of the whole matter.

No one knew that the NM was highly disturbed, chronically abusive and severely neglectful. Close relatives didn’t see through the attractive convincing masks that the narcissistic mother wore. For her this was “Show and Tell” time—an opportunity to brag about her perfect children. The phony act was presented as a direct reflection of her love and devotion to her kids.

Some adult children subjected to this treatment describe their terror state as that of a prisoner in a far off gulag. No matter how they repeatedly tried to deal with mother–begging her that they would do everything to live up to her expectations, asking her for forgiveness for crying or politely requesting that their basic needs for regular meals and sleep be fulfilled. Screaming, even raising your voice was responded to with multiple slaps in the face, out of control spanking and repeated threats of abandonment. This horrid torture treatment began when these children were very small. Victims recollect to me that by the age of three they lived in constant terror–some fearful that they could not tolerate another second.

Outside the house these mothers are worthy of Oscar winning performances. As a career woman the narcissistic mother takes advantage of every kudo she can get from her fellow business associates. She shows photographs of her children, chirping about them with great enthusiasm and pride. Everyone believes her–why not? NM is a consummate actress who will not be denied playing her star role to the hilt.

I want to express my respect, warmth, affection and gratitude for those who contact me and others who have not who lived through this nightmare every young day of their lives. You deserve great credit. You survived with your integrity and your true self. I am not for a moment disregarding your suffering. It was insurmountable.

I celebrate the unique human being that you are and will always be. May you continue to heal, to create, to feel peace inside and know that you are deeply loved.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

 

You Survived a Narcissistic Mother–Be Kind to Yourself

I hear from daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers who went through hell and back as children of narcissistic mothers. They psychologically discarded their kids except when it came to harsh torturous punishments. As adults they remember their mother’s screams thundering through the house:”I never wanted you.” “You are a piece of trash.” “I wish I had aborted you.” “You are to blame for every bad thing that ever happened to me.” “You make my life miserable every day.” When children are very little, some narcissistic mothers tell their children that because they are so bad, they are going to send them away. There is never an explanation to the child of what that means but it strikes terror in the heart of the child that lingers as a morbid threat.

The father in these family constellations is often very weak and terrified himself of his spouse. He becomes a workaholic and in some cases an alcoholic. He is completely unavailable to his children emotionally. Some fathers disappear and leave the home early in their childrens’ lives. They are irresponsible and infantile and flee the scene without ceremony.

Moment to moment these children are living in what can be described as a prison. Their nervous systems are constantly jarred by the NM’s demands and intimidations. Some children learn to tune out mother and they become numb to their own feelings. Others are in a constant state of fear, always waiting for the next catastrophe to arrive. Some children leave the home early and find relatives or friends who will take them in. And others stay in NM’s gulag for the sentence of their childhood and teenage years. Some kids act out through alcohol and drugs and sexual escapades to numb the pain and take them temporarily out of their living nightmare. This is self destructive but not surprising.

As older teenagers and young adults these abuse victims leave the home from hell and make efforts to forge their own lives. Some of these children pick themselves up and move forward with their education and careers. On the surface some are successful but inside they carry the painful imprint of their time in the house of desolation with the narcissistic mother. Others have a difficult time functioning in the outside world. Some adult children repeat the childhood pattern by marrying narcissistic spouses who psychologically incarcerate them.

Blame and shame are often the legacies of having a narcissistic mother as well as residual feelings of anxiety and depression. First—don’t blame yourself. You didn’t ask to be born to a narcissistic mother. It happened and it is horrible but don’t take this upon yourself. Focus your attention on a deep appreciation of who you really are and that you did everything to survive and achieved something great and very difficult.  Learn to be kind to yourself. This begins with self care. Acknowledge the wonderful unique person you are. Take time with the basics—good sleep, healthy eating, exercise in a form that works for you. Give yourself time each day to be quiet and uninterrupted where you can meditate, do basic yoga poses with emphasis on breathing through the nose which calms the nervous system. Writing what you are feeling and thinking privately offers many a source of freedom. Listening to music and allowing its beauty to become internalized inside is a source of healing. Gardening and being in Nature is a great healer. For many, having a dog or cat as a loving companion is just right for them. Some adult children find that excellent psychotherapy can help them work through many of the residual issues. If you decide psychotherapy is a possibility, I recommend that you interview several of them. I have found that there are fine therapists but there are others who are narcissistic and out for the money motive and making you dependent on them for that purpose.

Use your creative gifts–You have them. Be receptive to knowing what they are. Above all, use your intuition all of the time. It tells us the truth and is a companion throughout every moment of our lives.

I hold a special place in my heart for children of narcissistic mothers. I stand with you always.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

My book Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life is now out in paperback at Amazon.com (Kindle version 8.99) and is widely distributed.